For my very first trip post pandemic, my girlfriend and I decided to spend ten days in the North Isles of Scotland at the end of August 2021. As full-time workers based in London, we do sometimes prefer a quiet place for our holidays, however the choice was somewhat limited due to travel restrictions still in place at the time.
This is how the idea of going (again) to Scotland took shape, but this time we’d travel far more north than the last time I was there (The Isle of Skye).
The journey was made by train (London to Aberdeen) and ferry (Aberdeen to Kirkwall, which is the biggest city in the Orkney archipelago). After five days there we took the ferry from Kirkwall to Lerwick, which is the biggest city in Shetland. Another five days there, and then we ferried back to Aberdeen and then rode the train to London.
It does not seem an exciting trip, by the sound of it, but it was, mainly due to the many and beautiful places we got to see. And one of them, Westray (Orkney), one of the smallest islands of the archipelago, was where I first worked on a project. Or some sort of project.
Once the ferry docked on Westray, very early in the morning, we began our (slow) journey of the island, to kill some time before we could check into the B&B. The island is extremely small, and top to bottom it takes around fifteen minutes to explore it by car. Therefore, we decided to take our time and visit everything in depth. After not even ten minutes of marching along a cultivated field, we noticed a scarecrow, but it was not a simple scarecrow. It was so very detailed and dressed up that it almost looked like a human. At that point I thought I should make a photo, given how quirky that whole thing was. I generally do not like to take portraits, but this one was different. I could exercise all my calm, compose, take a metering and shoot.
A few dozen meters after we found another one, which I could not help but photograph through the same process. We searched the whole island looking for these funny characters, and in the end, we found sixteen. Only later we realized what this was all about: this was all part of an initiative to raise money for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) and families offered to make these scarecrows. Most of them, however, had been destroyed by the strong winds before we got to the island.
Equipment used in this project:
- Camera: Hasselblad 503CXi
- Lens: 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar CT*
- Film: Kodak Portra 800
- Developer: Tetenal Colortec c41
- Digitization: Leica M10-R + Nikon F to Leica M adapter + 80mm Tokina macro-F mount
- Post-production: Adobe Lightroom
This is how my very first project came to life and part of the proceedings from sales of my zine will go to RNLI.
If you are interested in buying a copy or to learn more, here is the link: https://tinyurl.com/gettons
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